After working at a 911 call center for nearly 10 years, Alisha Coleman was fired. She says it's because of her period, and the American Civil Liberties Union is arguing gender discrimination is at play. In the brief, Coleman alleges that the Bobby Dodd Institute in Fort Benning, Georgia, gave her a disciplinary write up after the "sudden onset of her menstrual period" caused her to leak fluid onto her chair in August 2015. It happened again the following April, with menstrual fluid spotting the carpet as she made her way to the bathroom. She says she cleaned the spot with bleach, but was fired four days later for failing to "practice high standards of personal hygiene and maintain a clean, neat appearance while on duty."
The ACLU calls Coleman's firing "wrong and illegal under federal law," citing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which bans workplace discrimination based on sex. The crux of the case is that sudden heavy menstrual flow is a symptom of pre-menopause. The New York Daily News reports that Coleman's case was first dismissed by a district court that found the law does not protect the condition of pre-menopause, but the ACLU argues that it fits under Title VII, which prohibits discrimination due to "pregnancy, childbirth and related conditions." USA Today reports that Bobby Dodd has issued a statement saying "there is more to this story than is being portrayed by those who are suing us." (One company actually gives women time off for their periods.)